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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  January 16, 2016 5:47pm-6:01pm EST

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learn more about hartford all weekend on american history tv. >> here we are in harriet beecher stowe's home in hartford, connecticut. we invite you to visit. the are standing today in sto we's front parlor. when you visit here, you sit down in this parlor and share a conversation about issues and experiences. stower was born harriet beecher in litchfield, connecticut, and through her life, she lived in cincinnati, brunswick, maine, andover, massachusetts, and then she and her husband retired to be near her sisters in hartford. in hartford, they had two houses. first in the middle of the civil war, she built her dream house, her glamorous mansion, and they
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built that house and moved in in 1863 and lived there for eight years and discovered over the euros years that it was too expensive to maintain, so they butsized to this modest spacious hartford home where they lived out the rest of their lives. stowe moved into this 4th street house in hartford in 1873, and the house had been built on spec and lived in a couple years.she did not specially build it . she moved in with her husband calvin stowe who she married in 1836, and he was about 10 years older than her. he was a professor of theology. she moved in with her eldest children, twin girls, her adult daughters, and they were in their 30's. stowe was in her 60's, and calvin was in his 70's. stowe was still writing. she was world-famous.
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she had reached that pinnacle of fame in her 40's, and now she is in her 60's, and she is still writing to support the family. she did some books in this house and many articles and opinion pieces. houset beecher stowe's was a domestic environment. one of the things she wrote about was how to manage your household. she thought and wrote a lot -- sheow women should helped advance the idea that managing your house and thinking about the kind of domestic environment you've built made a better family and made a better america. this house reflects that. it is not just one design, but it certainly reflects the movement of the 19th century, as it's called. it's also a house that reflects
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that these people had long lives and had deep family connections. it is familial. it is friendly. in his comfortable. it is used. we work hard as a museum to not have it be to tidy -- too tidy. at the writer's table, there might be crumpled tables on the floor. we want to evoke a home that is lived in. it's not pristine. sitting down with harriet i think, from her writings and other people's reports, she was a quiet person. she was an introvert. there's a lot going on in her head. people said things like, you would think she wasn't paying attention, but then she would start to fully participate, and what was happening, she would have thought about characters or stories that would come out later in her books. she held things in her head 20 or 30 years before they came out in her writing.
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talking with her might of been an interesting experience, because she was thinking about two things at once, the conversation and her characters. another way people described her is that she wasn't a particularly attractive person until she became animated in the conversation, and then there was a light about her and charisma and personality that you didn't see when she wasn't animated. you can see that in the photographs and in the physical evidence we have, likes sculptures and cameos and things that portray her. she might not have met the beauty standards of the day. few of us do, after all. her character and personality brought that to the fore and made her great company, and of course, harriet beecher stowe was very smart and articulate. she was taught at her father's
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dining table to make the case for her arguments. home isbeecher stowe's a classic victorian environment with two parlors and a dining room downstairs and a kitchen, which wouldn't have been a public space. when you visit, you see those spaces. in the parlors, you see the environment, as much as it was when stowe lived here, as we can tell from our research and the photographs we have. we are lucky enough to have a lot of possessions that stowe owned. to journey through the house with us. we talk about the past as well as the present. we are trying to explain stowe' long life and her impacts. when you reach the front parlor, you sit down in chairs with the andr people of your tour, you have a conversation about artifacts on this table that
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represent the issues of the 19th century. when you go onto the second floor, one of the rooms you go into is stowe's that room, which is one of the places she wrote. it is set up with a writing space and evidence of what it took, the struggles she had to write her books, particularly "uncle tom's cabin." >> we are in harriet's front which would have been the face of this house. when harriet was formally receiving guests,s she would usher them into this room and begin talking to them about a host of issues she was passionate about. here we have a photograph of harriet beecher stowe sitting in her front parlor where we are. she is sitting right about where i am standing, and you can get a feel for what the room looked like at the time and also get a
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feel for what harriet looked like. what we are going to try to do is talk about some documents that she may have been seeing in the 1850's when she's coming up with the ideas for "uncle tom's cabin," and in a lot of ways, these documents represent the debates people were having over slavery at the time. on this table, we have historical documents we have reproduced. a want to give our visitors feel for the debates over slavery that were occurring during harry it's time. we have some reward posters for fugitive slaves that may have been found in the north at the time. we have songs written by abolitionists that would've been sung at different meetings. we even had teaching tools for abolitionist children. this, for example, gives you a feel for the alphabet but also gives you a poem attach to each letter that talks about negative
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aspects of slavery. these were effective teaching tools at the time. even more than that, we have photos that would've been circulated in northern newspapers to gain support for abolitionism. this is the photo here of a massive pay to slaves -- of emancipated slaves that would've been found in newspapers. the back parlor would have been more of a private parlor space where harriet would have spent time with her husband or her two daughters. they may be reading to each other. they may be playing the piano. it was more of a relaxation space than a formal entertaining space. when visitors come into this room, we don't allow them to touch anything or sit on any chairs, although we have reproduced the circular letter, which sometimes we will pass around. now that we have seen harriet's back parlor, we will go into a
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more private space, harriet's bedroom. we have a lot of items in this through him that give you a feel for what harriet's writing what theas like and aftermath of the publication of "uncle tom's cabin" was like for her. in terms of her process, you can see over here that harriet didn't have a dedicated writing space. we know that she would've been writing quite a bit in this room, her bedroom, and she was not always the neatest writer when it was going on. we have some papers littered here to give you a feel for what the room would've looked like as harriet is writing. over on this bed, we have an enlarged reproduction of a newspaper called the "national era." cabin" cametom's out, it didn't come out in book form. it was serialized in an abolitionist newspaper called "the national era."
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every wednesday, a new chapter would come out, and people would gather in each other's parlors and hear it being read aloud. over here, we have a portrait of harriet tubman calvin stowe. calvin stowe was an important figure in harriet's life. he was willing to do many things that would not have been considered usual for men to do. for example, he would take care of the kids in the house so harriet would have enough time to write her book. this would've been considered very unusual for the time, but it is one of the many ways that harriet chose right with calvin. these are a selection of works that harriet wrote while in this house, and we like to show our visitors other works that harriet beecher stowe is known for. we are trying to let our visitors know that harriet has made a lasting impact, and we want to make sure her story is not forgotten. >> stowe died in 1896.
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she was 85. she died in this house, as her husband had. when she died, this parlor we are standing in, the front parlor, her coffin was laid out, and this is where the wake was. "the new york times" wrote this up. it was widely reported. she was so famous that many came to visit and to give their respects. she was buried next to one of her children -- two of her children -- who predeceased her and her husband in andover, massachusetts where they had been living when her son henry died. they bought a family plot. you can visit the grave in andover, massachusetts near where calvin stowe worked at the seminary.
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let's remember that in the 19th century, women couldn't devote. they had limited roles. whatever their class or race, they were restricted. shetook the most advantage could of the opportunities she had as a woman. she made her name. she made her points, and she argued forcefully for them. she leveraged that to make things happen. in the 21st century, all of that is important because much of her writing, whether it is about domestic life or slavery itself, gives us a framework for today. the past informs the present. here we are today in the 21st century, still struggling deeply, in the headlines and in our homes and in our friendships, with the many things that stowe was writing about that they were struggling with them.
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visit harriet beecher stowe's house, you are going to have an experience unlike many other historic house museums. learn more about hartford, connecticut, and the other stops in our tour at c-span.org. you're watching american history tv. all weekends, every weekend, on c-span3. next, historians and legal scholars debate the influence of the 13th and 14th amendments on modern american society. these were ratified during the reconstruction era and out with rights for freed slaves and african-americans in general. the national constitution center hosted this 45 minute of and. >> good morning. join jeffreyto rosen and welcoming you to this program. i am jeremy f,

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